Thursday, May 27, 2010

Low Key Memorial Day

I love three day weekends mainly due to the ability to mix in a significant amount of both fun and productivity.  It's hard to balance those two things in two days and for some reason those extra 24 hours just makes it seem infinitely more possible.  

And since I'm sure you are just dying to know, here are my Memorial Day weekend plans in a nutshell!

Friday night... dinner with my mom's side of the family.  I'm not sure where we're headed yet, but I do know that I will get to see these two:
Love, love, love them.  One of these days I'll convince my cousin that I am not a baby dropper responsible enough to babysit.  One of these days.  Perhaps I should stop posting things about falling out of cars* and being on my sixth iPhone first.

Saturday... Cooking out poolside with friends and doing a little bit of this:
Note: not a photo of me in my bikini.  Picture courtesy of here.  While I wish I had jumped on the treadmill about four months ago, that was sadly not the case.  As such, there will be no bikini clad pictures of me here unless I lose a bet or get a nasty case of food poisoning.  You're welcome. 

And cooking/bringing this:
Rice Salad
¼ salad oil
2 T vinegar
2T mustard
1½ t salt
⅛ t pepper
4½ C of hot cooked (in chicken broth) rice
2 hard boiled eggs
1½ C celery, chopped
½ C dill pickles, chopped
¼ C pimento, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
½ C mayo
Blend first five ingredients together and pour over hot rice.
Cool and then add remaining ingredients.
Chill and serve.

I know, I know rice salad?  It sounds weird but it is so freaking good!  It's the best side for summertime BBQ's because it's cold and very refreshing.  The Dot has made this ever since we were little and it's one of my favorites.  If you are taking it to a cookout, make it the day before so all the flavors can really blend together.  It's good the day-of, but even better 24 hours later. 
Sunday... Concert in Fort Worth with the crew:

While I am not really a country-music-loving girl.  I actually do love Texas country.  You know... Wade Bowen, Pat Green, Cory Morrow, etc.  You can't really go to Tech and not love Pat Green since he's a fellow Red Raider.  I'm pretty sure they won't let you in.  So I will happily throw on my cowboy boots for my Texas boys. Speaking of...

Sunday I will be wearing this (or close enough- my dress is flowier (flowy-er??) and with cuter boots):

Monday... funtime over.  Enter the (still incomplete) To Do list:
I have all these things I've been putting off, so my plan is to play all weekend and then get down to business on Monday**.  I mean, really? clean out the garage?! Can I get a collective 'UGH'.... Oh well, it will be nice when it's done.  

Three cheers to holiday weekends!  Hope everyone has a fantastic one!

*Bonus: if you click on the falling out of cars link you get a funny story AND the one-and-only picture of my ex-fiance that has ever been published on this blog.  It's like seeing Bigfoot.  Actually now that I think about it, it really IS like seeing Bigfoot because he's actually doing something nice in said picture.  Okay, enough rambling, I'm starting to get a touch tacky.  Apologies!

**Note to Dallas friends: please do not try to coerce me into any sort of Monday Funday activities with promises of refreshing cocktails, breezy patios, and/or sparkling swimming pools.  You've seen my dirty garage and mess of a closet, and you know how easily I am distracted by booze and shiny objects.  Thank you in advance.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bachelorette Premiere

Well, Hunter made it past the first round!  As always, there were a few crazy guys thrown into the mix for Ali to deal with. It's amusing to watch those that you know were put on the show just for the trainwreck factor. It seems like she contractually has to keep a few of them around for ratings purposes. I know I'm going to be a huge hypocrite watching this season because I naturally want to talk sh*t about the obviously confused gay one and the scrapbooker, but find myself feeling the need to defend Hunter's ukulele skills to all the haters.  

General observations:
  1. Do you think Ali had a pile in the bushes of all the crap that the guys gave her?  I have a horrible short term memory, but I recall two roses (one made out of a napkin), a plastic sun, a CZ ring, a scrapbook, a shoe keychain, and a wood BFF necklace just to name just a few. 
  2. Eventually the "upping the ante" mentality is going to have to stop.  Guys doing back flips off the limo, come on now!  Next season some dude is going to parachute in carrying a backpack full of puppies.  
  3. Shooter..... ohhhh Shooter.  Bad call.  You should have known better. 
  4. I loved Ali last season because she had that California ease and natural beauty, but tonight she just looked like she was trying too hard.  I hope she eases up a bit, because she is so cute without the stage makeup and Vienna-esque extensions. 
  5. I swear the producers have started purposely seeding the show with at least one person that has a significant other just to create the "most dramatic rose ceremony EVER" situations. 
Hunter observations:
  1. I do not remember that little Texas twang.  Maybe he was playing up the "southern charm" aspect. Which isn't a bad idea- you have to differentiate yourself somehow, but something tells me he took care of that with his vocal talents and/or when told Ali he had to use the restroom.  :)  
  2. My favorite line of the night was when he was talking about Roberto and said he was a little disappointed he got a rose for doing some sort of "hot sauce dance".  Ha- classic!! 
  3. Second favorite was when he (seemingly a little buzzed) called Craig something that was bleeped out but appeared to rhyme with 'mooshmag'.
  4. Sadly, as much as I'm rooting for him, it's not looking too good since I only caught a couple glimpses of him in the season montage.  Usually not a good sign.
Can't wait for next week!  Good luck Hunter!!

Robin Hood Rant

We saw Robin Hood over the weekend, and while it had its redeeming qualities, I wasn't a fan overall.  But this isn't a movie review, this is a personal observation on a decision that the producers/scriptwriters made that irked me ever-so-slightly.

**SPOILER ALERT, please stop reading now if you don't want to know anything about the movie**

So towards the end of the movie, Robin Hood and all his homies prepare for this big battle scene where they meet the french at the coast.  They are dividing up the troops and one of the leaders takes off their helmet and we see that the person is Maid Marian all suited up and ready to fight with the boys.

Okay, love this.  It was an unexpected twist and brought an interesting layer to an otherwise fairly uninteresting movie.  I don't think I have particularly feminist views in life, but anytime a girl suits up to go kick ass with the boys... I'm all for it.  But here's where they went wrong:

They are all fighting and it's getting to the point where it's apparent that they are kicking some french booty when Marian looks up and sees the "bad guy" by himself and vulnerable for attack.  So she goes after him.  I can't really remember, but I'm sure it was probably oh-so-dramatic, in slow mo, with eye of the tiger playing in the background, etc.  Well, she's not so great with her aim and not only misses the bad guy, but also gets knocked her off her horse and the bad guy starts beating the snot out of her.  And what happens next?  Freaking Robin Hood comes to rescue her.  I mean, come on.

Ugh.  At the point that you let the girl out of the ivory tower and get her hands a little dirty, you should at least let her have a shot at the bad guy without having to go all damsel-in-distress like every. single. other. movie.

Anyways, rant over.  I was proud of the producers for going there, but felt somewhat cheated when they didn't follow through on it.  C'est la vie.  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Familiar Face Coming to ABC

I'm not a huge TV girl but I love The Bachelor/ette. I wasn't a huge Jake Pavelka fan, but my faith in the selection of guys has been restored due to this guy:

Last week I kept seeing a bunch of my friends joining a facebook group called "Hunter Wagner - Bachelorette Contestant".  Hunter is a guy I went to high school and college with.  I clicked on it thinking he (or his friends) were trying to get him on the show and quickly figured out he wasn't applying- he just got done taping it!  Too funny.

The show premieres on Monday with Ali Fedowhatevertheheckherlastnameis taking the reigns and passing out the roses.  I've always liked the Bachelorette far more than The Bachelor because the guys replace the backstabbing cattiness with goofy antics.  It's so funny to watch what grown, contributing-to-society, men will do when put back in a frat-house environment.  And I have no doubt that Hunter will be front and center contributing to those antics.  If you need proof, check out this video that was posted on the facebook page:

I wish all wedding toasts had that much personality!  I've kind of lost touch with him, but he was always very charming and the life-of-the-party type.  It's definitely going to make this season much more fun to watch and I have someone to root for before it even starts.

I think ABC must love their Texas boys, because I also knew this guy from last season:

Remember him?  He was the foot-fetish dude.  Ha!  I've only met him a few times but he's good friends with my roommate's sister and a guy I used to date.  And apparently that foot fetish thing was pretty much an act. He certainly took it to a whole different {*creepy*} level though.

Anyways, if you're going to be watching this season of The Bachelorette, root for Hunter!  He's a great guy and how can you not cheer for a Texas boy that plays the ukulele?!?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Swagger Wagon

If you have been reading for awhile, you may remember this post rehashing the day we found out our dear friend Laura had gone back on our "no minivans ever" pact we made in our college days.  Back then style was far more important than function and the utter-uncoolness of minivans led us to create this all-important pact.  {See also: friends don't let friends wear mom jeans.}

Well, Laura was the first to have kids and shortly after, she broke down and succumbed to minivan ownership.  And she hasn't looked back.  These days you ask Laura about 'the mini' and she will PROUDLY tell you all of its award winning attributes.

So when the Sienna minivan commercials first started airing, I would stop the DVR to laugh at these spots that had to have been made in her honor.

This was my favorite for a long time:

That is, until this one came along. :

Sheer greatness.  Major props to the ad agency because, to me, this campaign is brilliant.

Monday, May 17, 2010

San Diego Recap

We are finally home after a long day of traveling!  We almost missed our flight when construction caused horrendous traffic on the way to the airport in San Diego.  We made it due to a flight delay and us sprinting through the airport à la Home Alone. However, my bag didn't have the same luck since I checked it 10 min before take-off.  Hopefully it arrives soon because that sucker has precious cargo in it:
Yes, that would be a suitcase full of sourdough bread.  There are few things I love more than an authentic, crusty loaf of sourdough and, in my opinion, the best place to find that is in California (San Francisco, preferably).  Boudin is my favorite and they have one location in San Diego so I took the opportunity to stock up.  Before you judge me and send my info into The Biggest Loser, my parents have a large outside freezer which will house most of these until they are needed.  (Also known as my plan to keep myself from carb-gorging until bikini season is over-- or at least until my two bridesmaid's dresses have been rocked).

But back to the important stuff.  So we got in Friday afternoon and drove out to Coronado Island to check out the place where my brother and Whit will be getting married and to scope out Rehearsal Dinner sites.  Yes, it is two months until the wedding and the RD site has not been finalized.  The Dot is a procrastinator with all things that do not revolve around snacks.

However, much to everyone's relief- she finally decided on something!  After looking at four different places, McCormick & Schmick's at the Omni was the winner.  The reception will be taking place right next door at a venue overlooking the Padre's stadium, so the location should be ideal.
Ceremony Site
Weird angle of the room at McCormick & Schmick's

While we were at M&S, we decided we may as well stop in at the bar to sample their food and cocktails:
Mini hot dogs.
Big League Chew Martini's (getting the baseball theme?)
The Dot wasn't too sure about the BLC Martini's.  I was a fan.  Which is not surprising since I drink Big Red, Sunkist, and basically any other beverage with the most unnatural coloring imaginable.

Prior to heading to Orange County, we stopped by my brother's absolute favorite burger place in Pacific Beach, Rocky's, to rub in the fact that we were having fun without him (we're evil like that).

He literally probably could have been a part owner in this place with the amount of money he spent here over the years.  He lived right down the street and knew all the bartenders by name.  So just because I'm such a sweet little sister, I took a picture with the main guy and sent it to him with the message "Jerry has a new favorite *insertourlastnamehere*":

'scuse the lovely iPhone quality photo

After that we headed up the coast to Orange County.  The shower was at noon on Saturday so we spent the night with Whitney's parents.  They were wonderful hosts and we got to hash out some of the details of the wedding.

The shower was perfect and Clint & Whit definitely got hooked up.  They have a great start on decorating their house and stocking their kitchen!  All of her family and friends were hilarious and very welcoming.  

Some of them commented that my mom had an accent (weird?).  Being the City-type Texans combined with the fact that we moved around a lot, we don't think we do, but apparently when out of our element the "y'all" sticks out a bit more. 
Whitney with the hostesses.
Whit's mom, Val; Whit; my mom; me.

After the shower, we headed back to SD to fly out the next morning.  A full day of traveling yesterday was made much better with this little guy: 

I was ambivalent towards the iPad prior to this trip.  Yes, it's cool.  But I have an iPhone and a laptop... it seemed neat but sort of unnecessary to me.  I'm here to tell you that I've changed camps.  We used it to navigate our way everywhere, it provided entertainment and allowed us to download the shower pictures from Whitney's parents in about 30 seconds on our way out the door.  Very cool.

So there ya go... San Diego in a nutshell.  Wow- that was much longer than I intended.  Many apologies if I bored you, but I guess if you're reading this, you made it through! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

San Diego Bound!

In Napa: the woman never leaves home without snacks.

This time tomorrow, my mom and I will officially be off to San Diego for a weekend of breezy weather, rehearsal dinner investigation, and most importantly, showering my future sister-in-law with all the essential goods she and my brother will start their new life with!

If there is one thing I love about traveling with my mom, it's that she plans ahead* and always has the boy scout motto "be prepared" in mind. Which to boy scouts means rope, flint, and a good tent. The Dot takes a much more practical view on being prepared with snacks, booze, and the latest and greatest travel electronics.

The Dot's Packing List Thus Far:
  1. Chocolate covered almonds.
  2. Chili lime cashews.
  3. Honey sesame sticks.
  4. Lemon and chocolate protein bars.
  5. iPad with a headphone splitter.
  6. Crazy Heart and Up in the Air rented, uploaded to said iPad, and ready for our in-flight viewing.
  7. Bookoos** of drink coupons.
*I should mention that "planning ahead" to my mom means the gathering of: food, sweets, snacks, movies, blankets, and other creature comforts and notsomuch the application of booking essentials like rental cars and/or plane reservations. Priorities, people.

**I just had a "duh, you idiot" moment when I just realized that this word "bookoos" that I've said quite a bit in my {very slight} Texan twang is really the butchering of the french word beaucoup... meaning 'in abundance'. Seriously, never put that one together... six years of french. Wowza.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thoughts on Neighborhood Services

After our first failed attempt at Neighborhood Services Tavern, we decided to give it another shot on a Friday night when we knew they would be open. The restaurant is tiny and with a 45 minute wait, we decided to head to the bar. The bartender looked so familiar to me and after a little further investigation I realized that we went way back* so we decided to forgo the traditional table and just eat there.

We had fried asparagus with lemon and dill aioli to start, he got soft shell crab tacos, and I got the Schnitz with black pepper spaetzle (basically pounded veal with a cous cous-esque pasta). He definitely got out-whataburgered... the schnitz was tender, had great flavor, and what little of it was leftover- he quickly consumed. I had never had schnitzel before, and my first experience did not disappoint. Being a lover of all things spicy, the asparagus could have been kicked up a notch, but I completely understand that not everyone likes things as hot as I do.

The food was great, but Andrew (the bartender) was what really made the experience for me. When the food came I was drinking a Stella and he came up and poured a third of a glass of wine and said "try this with your food, you'll love it". I love wine. And I love food. And despite being raised by glass swirling, tannin sniffing, napa lovers... I would not know the first thing about what to pair with SCHNITZEL. (Hence the Stella-- in a feat of grand stereotyping, my thought process went as follows: German's love beer. Schnitzel = German-esque. Therefore, Schnitzel + Beer = tasty pairing... yaaay logic!)

Anyways, the wine made it pop much more than the beer. I appreciated him not only knowing the menu and his wine list, but knowing what would work together and taking it upon himself to suggest I try it. Love that. Our experience ended with discussions/tastings of what exactly grappa and St. Germain were. FYI, grappa tastes like rubbing alcohol. But St. Germain could be quite tasty mixed in the appropriate cocktail.

So to wrap it all up, I will be going back to Neighborhood Services and when I do, I will most definitely be barside.

*In trying to figure out why the bartender looked familiar, I asked where he had worked before NS and he told me Fireside Pies. Then it clicked... about six years ago when we were all fresh out of college we had a girl's night at Fireside. We had all just moved to Dallas and had heard about this bar that was "invitation only" called The Candleroom and wanted to go. So after dinner, we stopped to ask Andrew how to get in-- he promptly set his martini shaker down and told us to follow him. He literally left the bar, walked us across Henderson, down the little side street, introduced us to the door-guy and made sure we got in. The funniest part about it was that he was walking so fast (ya know, since he had a BAR to attend to and all) that he had about eight girls trailing behind him in single file. He looked like a mama duck leading his eight chicks to the pond. Too funny. {Sidenote: After further investigation, Candleroom is not really our type of place- even six years ago. But hey, we were 22 and wanted to see what all the fuss was about}.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Moose Monday - Wiener Envy

I don't know if it's my horrendous allergies or the fact that this weekend was go-go-go, but I am exhausted. I went home for lunch and it was all I could do not to curl up and take a quick little nap.

Sadly a nap wasn't in the cards. So I'm back at the office and just turned around to find moose like so:

So jealous. He almost looks dead. A rough life, that one has.

With four days until San Diego, I better snap out of it! Thinking I see Emergen C in my future...

Here's hoping your Monday is a tad more energy-filled than mine!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

favorite purchase as of late

The newest addition to my 'workout/lazy day/I'm not going to get out of yoga pants for the majority of the weekend' wardrobe.

Gap Body had a sale a couple weeks ago and every tank top in the store was $10, I picked this one up and I'm obsessed with it. It also comes in olive and black and I think I might go back and get both of them.

Sadly, the $10 sale is no more, but even at $24.50, I would say these are worth it. Lightweight, comfy, and great for days at the gym when a skin-tight workout tank simply isn't going to skew to the flattering side of things. (i.e. when you haven't been in two months. Not saying I would ever do such a thing, but you know, if you hadn't... this would be perfect!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo- or around here- Eyo!

One of my college besties, Erika, was born on Cinco de Mayo. Her nickname is E, so a few years ago we officially renamed the holiday "Cinco de Eyo". As if this crew ever needed an excuse to have a good time, it always gives us a reason to have a little bit of EXTRA fun! This year was no exception. We typically have a party the Saturday before and then go to dinner on her birthday if it falls during the week. Yes, birthday dinners are a must, but aren't margaritas + mexican food on Cinco de Mayo pretty much law in Texas anyways?

I don't know if it was the fact that we're getting old and miss college theme parties desperately we were feeling extra festive this year or just wanted an excuse to wear mustaches, but we decided to go with the "fiesta" theme for the holiday.

Since it was supposed to rain, we threw the party at our house. Our lack of a dining room table provides the perfect dance floor area. And while we always say we're too old* to turn a get together into a dance party... it always happens. And happen it did.

Some pictures for your enjoyment:

Getting everything ready. This picture cracks me up. Anytime I'm in party planning mode and I get in the way of a picture I'm always blurry bc I'm moving so fast. My mom said she couldn't get a decent picture of me at Jodi's shower because I never sat still.
The cake! I made a sombrero cake to fit the theme. You can't really tell in this picture, but it was gigantic and the only thing I could use as a cake stand was the pan it was baked in, so I made it a little more festive with green, red, and white streamers wrapped around it.
Of course moose got in on the theme action. Not happily though. I think he hated this hat more than the pirate costume and that one had an eye patch!
Me, E, Al before everyone got there.
Jules and E.
Flynn and E.
Alex and Wylie.
Me, Alison, E, Jules.
Trey wearing moose's sombrero and playing the recorder... obviously getting a touch later in the night...
Me doing my best Frida impression. Although some might say I was doing my best "natty circa 1994 before she discovered tweezers" impression. Kiiiidding. Kind of.
Jules and Brent.
Zach sporting the mustache-as-eyebrows look.
Nothing says "classy" like doing the Soulja Boy while wearing a fou man chu.
More mustache-clad dancing- E, Al, Melissa.
The mustache in a sad state at the end of the night.
The roomie. Hilarious.

*Speaking of 'too old'... this was the first party that we've had at our house with kids in attendance. I was absolutely thrilled that they could come, but I'm not going to lie- I had a little bit of a "omg, when did I get to be the age where it is perfectly normal for lots of my friends to have babies at social occasions?!?" moment. It's a very weird feeling, that getting old business...
Two sweet dads and two even sweeter little girls.
Miss Ellie came to the party appropriately attired.
Little Clare was pretty much the cutest thing ever. And such a good toddler. She just wandered around and entertained herself.

Hope everyone had a muy bueno Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April in Pictures

I love, love, love this time of year with the not-too-hot/not-too-cold weather. It will be gone before we know it, so I always try to soak it in and spend as much time outside enjoying it as possible. Here is my April in pictures:
My attempt at going to a book signing of Giada at Home at Sur la Table. When I got there this is what I was met with. That line was wrapped all the way around the other side of the building past the right side of the picture that you can't see. And it was raining. I love Giada, but waiting in that line in the rain? Notsomuch.
Sweet Bossdad post surgery. Always the comedian, he tucked the flower from his tray behind his ear to accessorize his hospital gown.
A picture Mark took at the Bon Jovi concert. It was a last minute decision to go, but we had so much freaking fun. He's 10 years older than me so I love to tease him that these were the songs I grew up with in elementary school while he was probably jamming out to them at UT.
At the Crawl for Cancer charity pub crawl. 20,000 participants + four bars within walking distance of each other + many costumed attendees + bounce house = a very, very fun Saturday.
Like I said...
Sweet baby Cameron. I could not get enough of this little one. Toward the end of the night that I went over to meet her, my cousin said "you know you can come back, right Natalie?" Ha... I think I might have outstayed my welcome! :)
An interesting idea for people that want to pretend they have a sous chef at home that measures out all their ingredients for them. Convenience at its finest, although I can't say that I'm ever going to try it. It just feels like cheating for some reason...
My first jalapeno! I'm probably way more excited about this than I should be, but for some reason growing something that actually produces a specific thing has been much more rewarding than the bushy herbs. I may or may not check on this little jalapeno every. single. day.
Moose helping with the gardening.
The best liquor store ever just opened down the street from my house. Amazing wine selection PLUS a whole selection of specialty cheeses and crackers PLUS Campisi's pizza... all right in the store. As if I needed another excuse to make carbs, wine, and cheese an acceptable dinner.